2015 is winding to a close, and 2016 is on the tips of our tongues.
Toward the end of each December, my personal tradition for the past several years has been to pull 12 cards for the new year, one for every month.
Recently, I managed to lose my deck of Tarot cards. So, I borrowed my friend’s spirit animal cards and drew the following dozen from the set entitled Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power through the Ways of the Animals by Jamie Sams and David Carson.
I view these as intention cards for each month of the year. I don’t believe in fortune-telling, exactly, but I do believe that intention is as important as action. I revisit each intention at the beginning of each month by writing the keyword on my calendar.
My commentary below each month’s focus is accompanied by inspiring quotes from the lovely book that comes with the cards, as well as Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, a fabulous volume on creativity and inspiration that I gleefully devoured.
January ~ Rabbit: Fear
“Write your fears down and be willing to feel them. Breathe into them and feel them running through your body into Mother Earth.” ~ Medicine Cards
What are you afraid of? I’m afraid of snakes, large spiders, boredom, calculus, perfectionism, failing.
Our fear is there for a reason. It may or may not be of benefit; that’s for us to decide. Some fears are natural, even helpful. Fear in the sphere of creative work is not helpful, as Big Magic repeatedly points out.
“Just because creativity is mystical doesn’t mean it shouldn’t also be demystified—especially if it means liberating artists from the confines of their own grandiosity, panic and ego.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
February ~ Bear: Introspection
Enter the Dream Lodge, the space of inner knowing and silence.
We can become like the bear, snuggling in our cave, reflecting, resting, waiting. Introspection is achieved through meditation, journaling, quality conversations with good friends, and more meditation. Watching the mind’s wheels turning. Observing the emotions arising and passing away. Noticing thoughts, memories, plans, worries, sensations and always gently, kindly returning to the present moment and whatever anchor you’ve chosen for the meditation (the breath, a mantra, sounds, a visualization, etc).
“You must keep calling out in the dark woods for your own big magic.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
March ~ Snake: Transmutation
“This medicine teaches on a personal level that you are a universal being.” ~ Medicine Cards
This is the grand paradox of life: we are individuals and we are part of the collective. Each of us is a inimitable piece of humanity. Not only are we connected with other human beings, we are also forever inextricably connected with and part of the universe and every plant, animal and thing in it. We can delight in this interconnectivity.
Liz Gilbert opens her book with an anecdote about poet Jack Gilbert. She quotes him as writing: “We must risk delight. We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.”
The world is a ruthless furnace but it’s also a delightful place. “Gladness” requires awareness and (a stubborn) acceptance of the joys in our lives. So, let’s be grateful. Let’s remember our universal beingness.
April ~ Hummingbird: Joy
Love with an open heart.
The heart is everything. Do all that you do, say all that you say, write all that you write from a place of love. If your heart is broken, closed or collapsed, do some healing energy work. Get Reiki and a massage. Hug people. Hug yourself. Take care of your heart. Love is everything.
“Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
May ~ Dog: Loyalty
Have I been loyal and true to my goals?
Another paradox of life is that we are exactly where we need to be right now while at the same time, we set and work toward personal and communal goals.
Just like with anything, it’s great to set goals and important not to get too attached to their attainment. This is a time to review the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year and gauge how they are working out. This is an opportunity to revise, rewrite, and reset your devotion to a few personal goals for yourself.
“It’s a simple and generous rule of life that whatever you practice, you will improve at.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
June ~ Lynx: Secrets
Look for omens.
Signs are always there. The more we pay attention, the more we can pick up on them.
Be mindful of your speech. Be honest, not secretive. Be open, not deceptive.
“Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all. We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits. We are terrified, and we are brave. Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege. Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us. Make space for all these paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise—you can make anything.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
July ~ Buffalo: Prayer & Abundance
Be humble and ask Spirit for help. Be grateful for all that is received.
Buffalo medicine is powerful. Abundance is the ground of being. Look around. Abundance is everywhere. There are so many clouds and waterfalls. So much air and sky. So much art and beauty. So much ocean, so much sadness.
Gratitude for the everyday abundance of life is the foundation of true happiness. Art is the overflowing of this gratitude onto a canvas.
“Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
August ~ Owl: Deception
“Pay attention. The truth always brings further enlightenment.” ~ Medicine Cards
Do not be deceived: you are not alone. You are not a separate, isolated being. You are me, and I am you. And we are here together!
Connect with Owl medicine for greater inner wisdom, patience, and knowing.
“You are already creatively legitimate by nature of your mere existence here among us.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
September ~ Ant: Patience
Trust… good things are coming from your devoted efforts.
Sometimes it’s hard to see, but bit by bit, day by day, we are creating. Whether we work on many small projects or one big one, creativity is a matter of devotion and discipline to create frequently (or try to, anyway)—not just when inspiration strikes. All we can do is try our best to let the love flow from our fingertips and through our voices.
“We are all just beginners here, and we shall all die beginners.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
October ~ Mountain Lion: Leadership
Cultivate the ability to lead without insisting that others follow.
Integrate your inner male and female, your personal yin and yang. We all need both tenderness and precision. Both attention to detail and the ability to step back and see the big picture. We need to “be” and we need to “do.” And to balance the two.
“I have a right to collaborate with creativity, because I myself am a product and a consequence of creation.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
November ~ Spider: Weaving
“The most important message from Spider is that you are an infinite being who will continue to weave the patterns of life and living throughout time. Do not fail to see the expansiveness of the eternal plan.”
We are in relationship with everything. The thread of life intertwines among our cells and through our relationships with all others, as well as ourselves. If we take a giant step back, we see that our web is not just our little neck of the woods. Our web is just one of billions of tiny webs that are really just one gigantic web of the time-space continuum. We are all drops in the ocean, making waves.
“You have got to be fucking kidding me!” ~ novelist Ann Patchett, upon finding out from Elizabeth Gilbert that the latter had worked on (and given up, and apparently passed along to Ann Patchett psychically) the exact same novel plot line about a Minnesotan woman traveling to the Brazilian Amazon.
December ~ Porcupine: Innocence
Open your heart to things that gave you joy as a child. Honor the playfulness of spirit.
What did you love to play as a little kid? What did you love to create? Were you into painting, coloring, sculpting, dolls, games, animals, gardens, sports, camping, or what?
Seek out the activities that bring a big grin to your face. Instead of spending all your time and money on shopping, spend your time and energy with children and/or your own inner child.
“I am a child of God, just like anyone else. I am a constituent of the universe. I have invisible spirit benefactors who believe in me and who labor alongside me.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
Author: Michelle Margaret Fajkus
Editor: Renée Picard
Image via the author